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Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Afternoon in Montalcino

You might remember from our previous trip to Italy that we spent the last portion of our trip in Montalcino, in Tuscany.  This last weekend during our trip to Italy we were technically staying in Montepulciano, another part of Tuscany, but we were within an hours journey of Montalcino. We fell in love with that area during our last trip and wanted to pay a visit to our favorite winery, Ciacci Piccolomini, and stock up on some Rosso and Brunello wine (mostly because the case that we had bought a mere 6 months earlier was completely depleted. Oops.)

We took our time driving through the Tuscan countryside, meandering through small towns and vineyards. One thing I have learned about traveling through Italy is that if you aren't on the A1 Autostrada, you are likely to be on a small, country road.  The countryside was greener than our last visit - flowers were in bloom and the farm fields were bursting with new life.

It took us longer than we thought to make it to the vineyard and as we drove through the tiny town to make that last turn to reach it, we were stopped short by an elderly man wearing a neon orange vest.

"La strada e chiusa"

The one road that lead to the vineyard was closed.  Not ones to give up at the first stumbling block we pulled over and consulted the GPS. I was sure that there was another way around the town - we could just go around the back way and enter from the opposite side! Easy peasy, right?  Wrong. The road I thought would take us around the town and finally to the vineyard turned in to a farm road made of gravel and stopped short after a few miles in the middle of a vineyard.  Oops.

To console ourselves for wasting nearly a full day chasing a vineyard that we couldn't even get to (serves us right for not calling before we left), we went to a restaurant in a town near by that we had visited on one of our last nights in Italy last year. Il Leccio.

Il Leccio is in the main square of a tiny village called Sant'Angelo in Colle, which rests on the top of a hill. From the edges of the square you can see for miles, and miles and miles.


In a matter of minutes after sitting down in the shade, all I could see was a lovely glass of wine in front of me. 

We lucked out and had some amazingly hot sunny weather, and much to Brians dismay, I chose to have a glass of white wine instead of a local red (which if you know me at all might cause you some concern). My logic at the time was that I needed something cool and crisp to stave off the heat.

And then I ordered a heaping bowl of gnocchi.

Take that logic!

 On our way back to the villa we were passing through some fields when suddenly, the ground went red!

We were driving through poppy fields. Completely unexpected, but totally the right way to end a not-so-perfect perfect afternoon.


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